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InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. The wide disparities in human development


GS Paper 3:

  1. OilMin accepts all major Kirit Parikh panel recommendations on gas pricing
  2. How India’s sugar shipments to the world are surging
  3. Synthesis Report of IPCC AR6
  4. ICMR releases guidelines for artificial intelligence use in the health sector


Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Sahara— women self-help group (SHG)


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Arts of the imperial Chola dynasty
  2. ‘Jharniyojan’ portal 
  3. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)
  4. Letter of Comfort
  5. States to get rewards for organic farming
  6. 4D Printing
  7. Radiation Level
  8. Laccase Enzyme
  9. India lost 668,400 ha forests in 5 years, 2nd highest globally: Report


The wide disparities in human development

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Social Justice – Human Development


Source: The Hindu

Context: India is now one of the fastest-growing economies globally. However, this growth has not resulted in a corresponding increase in its Human Development Index (HDI).


About Human Development Index:

  • The HDI is a composite statistical measure created by the United Nations Development Programme to evaluate and compare the level of human development in different regions around the world.
  • It was introduced in 1990 as an alternative to conventional economic measures such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which do not consider the broader aspects of human development.
  • The HDI assesses a country’s average accomplishment in three aspects: a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living.


Human Development Report 2021-22:

  • According to the Human Development Report of 2021-22, India ranks 132 out of 191 countries, behind Bangladesh (129) and Sri Lanka (73).
  • The HDI scores range from 0 to 1, with higher values indicating higher levels of human development.
  • The subnational HDI in India shows that while some states have made considerable progress, others continue to struggle. Delhi occupies the top spot and Bihar occupies the bottom spot.
  • The five states with the highest HDI scores are Delhi, Goa, Kerala, Sikkim, and Chandigarh. Nineteen states are classified as high human development states, while the bottom five states are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Assam, with medium levels of human development.


Reasons for the wide disparity:

  • Economic growth has been unevenly distributed in India.
    • The top 10% of the Indian population holds over 77% of the wealth.
  • Quality of education, healthcare and basic amenities remain a concern.
  • Not prioritising human development alongside economic growth.
  • Improving access to quality social services, addressing environmental challenges.
  • India must prioritise investments in human development and job creation, particularly for its youth.


Insta Links:

Human Development Index (HDI).


Mains Link: UPSC 2019

Despite the consistent experience of High growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive.


Prelims Links

The Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index developed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative with UNDP support covers which of the following?

  1. Deprivation of education, health, assets and services at the household level
  2. Purchasing power parity at the national level
  3. The extent of the budget deficit and GDP growth rate at the national level

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: A

OilMin accepts all major Kirit Parikh panel recommendations on gas pricing

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Economy: Energy


Source: BS

Context:  The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry has accepted the main recommendations of the Kirit Parikh committee on natural gas pricing, and will be further recommended by them to the Cabinet soon


What is the Kirit Parikh committee?

The committee was constituted last year (2022) to review the existing pricing formula for domestically produced natural gas in India.


The current method of gas pricing:

At present, the government fixes the prices of gas produced from the old fields of state-run ONGC and OIL (these both account for about 80% of the annual gas output of 91 billion cubic metres in India)


Need for revision of Gas Pricing?

  • To ensure a reliable pricing regime: A price band will ensure a predictable pricing regime for producers and protect consumers by moderating CNG and PNG price spikes.
  • To raise domestic production: A better price will incentivise more investment and help raise domestic production (India targets 15% of energy coming from gas by 2030)
  • Helps in improving the environment– dependence on coal and oil needs to be reduced
Major Recommendations of the Committee Description
Fixed Ceiling price (till 2027) ·        Implement a fixed pricing band for APM (Administrative Price Mechanism) gas from old fields

·        The old fields account for two-thirds of natural gas produced in India

·        Currently, government controls the price of Gas produced from old fields

By 2027 ·        Move to a purely market-determined natural gas pricing system by 2027
Linking the price ·        Link the domestic gas price to 10% of the cost of imported crude oil
No-cut category (uninterrupted supply) ·        Some of the sectors have been kept in the ‘no-cut’ category (meaning that supplies will remain uninterrupted in this category even in case of a decline in production)

·        E.g., The city gas and fertilizer sector will continue to get top priority in the allocation of APM gas.

Inclusion of gas in GST ·        Include gas in GST with compensation for five years
Removal of caps on gas prices ·        Remove caps on gas prices within three years.
Gradual exit from gas allocation business ·        Government should gradually exit out of the gas allocation business.
No changes to the existing pricing formula for new fields and fields with difficult geology ·        New and difficult fields enjoy pricing freedom to compensate for the greater risk and cost involved in these projects, but they have a pricing cap.

·        The report suggests that the upper cap should be removed from January 1, 2026.

·        E.g., for fields in the Deep sea or in high-temperature, high-pressure zones.


Impact of the move:

  • Good for domestic producers: It will benefit domestic producers of natural gas in India, as they will now be able to receive a higher price for their products.
  • Will incentivize domestic production and lead to an increase in domestic supply.
  • Will make the pricing of natural gas more transparent and efficient
  • This will help raise the share of gas in India’s energy mix to 15% by 2030 from around 4% at present.


About Administrative Price Mechanism (APM):

To prevent hoarding, maintain the prices of essential goods (such as Gas) at reasonable levels, and ensure their easy availability, the government fixes the prices of certain commodities. This is known as the administered price mechanism.


About natural gas:

Natural gas, also called methane gas or natural methane gas, is a colourless highly flammable gaseous hydrocarbon consisting primarily of methane and ethane. It is a type of petroleum that commonly occurs in association with crude oil. It can be used as a domestic and industrial fuel.


Insta Links:


Mains Link:

Will natural gas be the game-changer in India’s energy future? Discuss. (150 Words)


Prelims Link:

In India, in the overall Index of Industrial Production, the Indices of Eight Core Industries have a combined weight of 37.90%. Which of the following is among those Eight Core Industries? (UPSC 2012)

  1. Cement
  2. Fertilizers
  3. Natural Gas
  4. Refinery products
  5. Textiles

Select the correct answer using the codes given below

(a) 1 and 5 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 2, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Solution: C

The index of eight core industries measures combined and individual performance of production in selected industries namely coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity.

How India’s sugar shipments to the world are surging

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Agriculture


Source: IE

Context: India has become world No. 2 in sugar export, behind only Brazil.



  • India’s sugar export (in 2016-17) was 0.46 lakh tonnes (lt), which has now increased to 110 lt by 2021-22.
  • India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of sugar
  • Importers of Indian Raw Sugar: Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia


Types of Sugar:

  • Raw Brown sugar: Raw sugar is what mills produce after the first crystallisation of juice obtained from the crushing of cane. This sugar is rough and brownish in colour.
    • Most of the world’s sugar trade is in ‘raws’ and they can be transported in bulk vessels and requires no bagging or containerisation.
    • Till 2017-18, India hardly exported any raw sugar.
  • Refined White sugar: Raw sugar after being processed in refineries for the removal of impurities and de-colourisation.


Advantages of Indian raw sugar in the International Market:

  • Season advantage: India’s crushing is from October to April, whereas Brazilian mills operate from April to November. Hence, importers are utilising Indian raw sugar during Brazil’s off-season.
  • Freight cost savings: India is much closer to its major sugar importers (compared to Brazil) and therefore less freight cost.
  • Indian sugar is free of dextran: Dextran is a bacterial compound formed when sugarcane stays in the sun for too long after harvesting.
  • Indian raw sugar has no dextran, as it is produced from fresh cane crushed within 12-24 hours of harvesting (compared to 48 hours or more in Brazil)
  • India’s sugar has a higher % of sucrose present


Government Policies for higher Sugar Production:

  • Pricing:
    • Fair and remunerative price (FRP):The FRP is the minimum price that sugar mills have to pay to sugarcane farmers for the procurement of sugarcane.
    • State-Advised Price: Although the Central government decides the FRP the state governments can also set a State Advised price that a sugar mill has to pay to the farmers.
  • Encouraging Ethanol Production to be used in Ethanol Blending with Petrol (EBP) Programme
  • Scheme for Extending Financial Assistance to Sugar Undertakings (SEFASU)
  • National Policy on Biofuels2018



Lower stocks, lower production and concerns about domestic availability and food inflation have led the government to cap India’s exports in the current sugar year. However, once the overseas markets are lost, they are not easy to regain.



Rangarajan committee (2012) has recommended the abolition of the quantitative controls on the export and import of sugar, these should be replaced by appropriate tariffs.


About Sugar Industry:

  • The sugar industry is the second largest agro-based industry in India after cotton.
  • Employment: 50 million sugarcane farmers and around 5 lakh workers are directly employed in sugar mills.

Insta Links

Sugar Export Curbs


Mains Links

Discuss the significance of the Minimum Selling Price (MSP) for sugar.


Prelims Links

Q According to India’s National Policy on Biofuels, which of the following can be used as raw materials for the production of biofuels? (UPSC 2020)

  1. Cassava
  2. Damaged wheat grains
  3. Groundnut seeds
  4. Horse gram
  5. Rotten potatoes
  6. Sugar beet


Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2, 5 and 6 only
(b) 1, 3, 4 and 6 only
(c) 2, 3, 4 and 5 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6


Ans: A


The National Policy on Biofuels, 2018, allows the production of ethanol from sugarcane juice, sugar-containing materials like sugar beet, and sweet sorghum, starch-containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, rotten potatoes, unfit for human consumption.



With reference to the current trends in the cultivation of sugarcane in India, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2020)

  1. A substantial saving in seed material is made when ‘bud chip settlings’ are raised in a nurse and transplanted in the main field.
  2. When direct planting of setts is done, the germination percentage is better with single-budded setts as compared to setts with many buds.
  3. If bad weather conditions prevail when setts are directly planted, single-budded setts have better survival as compared to large setts.
  4. Sugarcane can be cultivated using settlings prepared from tissue culture.


Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 4 only
(d) 2, 3 and 4 only


Ans: C

Bud Chip setting is used as an alternative to tissue culture, it reduces the mass and enables quick multiplication of seeds. So, substantial savings can be done in seed material. Large setts have better germination % and survival rates. Tissue culture is a technique in which fragments of plants are cultured and grown in a laboratory.

Synthesis Report of IPCC AR6

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment


Source: TH

Context: According to an IPCC report, climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health and a window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all is fast closing.



  • Through its multiple assessment cycles beginning in 1990, the IPCC has analysed research by scientists on
    • Global warming,
    • The role humans have had in exacerbating it,
    • The long-term climate impact from current and future emissions and what people can do about it.
  • The IPCC does not itself undertake scientific assessments but only evaluates the state of scientific evidence on various aspects of climate change.
  • The 6th Assessment Report (AR6) assesses scientific, technical, and socio-economic information concerning climate change.


About the Synthesis Report: This is the final report of the AR6, which integrates findings from six reports (3 working groups + 3 special reports) released by IPCC during the cycle which began in 2015.


Highlights of the Synthesis report of the AR6:


6 key messages for policymakers:

  • Excess emissions from human activities have raised global temperature by 1.1°C above 1850-1900.
  • Current policy action will lead to further temperature rise, and the impacts on humans and other forms of life will become more severe.
  • At current emissions levels, we will deplete the remaining carbon budget (of 500 GtCO2).
  • We need to cut GHG emissions across all sectors urgently, within this decade and no later.
  • We have all the solutions we need to shift to low-carbon economic systems. These include –
    • Widespread electrification,
    • Diversifying energy generation to include more wind, solar, and small-scale hydropower,
    • Deploying more battery-powered electric vehicles, and
    • Conserving and restoring forests while also reducing tropical deforestation.
  • Political commitment and equity are key to enabling this shift – there is enough finance, it needs to be directed to climate action



  • Overshooting 1.5°C (expected in the early 2030s) will result in irreversible adverse impacts on certain ecosystems with low resilience (polar, mountain, coastal ecosystems, etc).
  • Adaptation gaps exist and will continue to grow if no action is taken and the lower-income group will suffer the most.
    • Though developed countries commit to jointly mobilise $100 billion in climate finance annually, current global financial flows for adaptation are insufficient.
  • Some parts of the world (tropical, coastal, polar and mountain ecosystems) have already reached their adaptation limits.
    • This means adaptive actions cannot avoid negative impacts there.
  • There is increased evidence of maladaptation (changes in natural/human systems that inadvertently increase vulnerability to climate stimuli) in various sectors and regions.
    • For example, mangrove plantation in coastal Odisha has disturbed the local ecosystems, affecting marginalised and vulnerable groups adversely.
  • There are multiple barriers (variable impacts, risks and co-benefits in deploying them) to implementing carbon capture and storage (CCS) – a climate change mitigation tool that removes CO2 from the atmosphere


Implications of the report for India: Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events – could have dire consequences for agriculture, the economy and public health.


Opportunity: There is a 50-50 chance that by 2030, the global surface temperature in any individual year could exceed 1.5C.


Recent efforts: The loss and damage (L&D) finance facility, which came into prominence during the COP27 (Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt) to the UNFCCC, aims to provide financial assistance to nations most vulnerable and impacted by the effects of climate change.


Way ahead:

  • Engaging public-private sector to mobilise sufficient finances
  • Citizens must be provided with climate literacy to drive political commitment, research and urgency towards adaptation.
  • Enabling conditions such as policy instruments, greater public support and technological innovation could reduce barriers to CCS.
  • The policymakers must prioritise investments in disaster risk reduction, including early warning systems, evacuation plans, and infrastructure development to protect vulnerable populations.



  • Certain future changes are unavoidable but could be limited by deep, rapid and sustained global GHG emissions reduction based on the principle of climate justice.
  • Therefore, mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages, but will also provide wider benefits.


Insta Links:

IPCC Report


Prelims Links: (UPSC 2015)

Which of the following statements regarding the ‘Green Climate Fund’ is/are correct?

  1. It is intended to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change
  2. It is founded under the aegis of UNEP, OECD, Asian Development Bank and World Bank


Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2


Ans: 1

ICMR releases guidelines for artificial intelligence use in the health sector

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health


Source: DTE

Context: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has released Ethical Guidelines for AI in Healthcare and Biomedical Research to guide the effective, safe development/deployment/adoption of AI-based technologies.



  • India has a host of frameworks which marry technological advances with healthcare. These include –
    • The Digital Health Authority for leveraging Digital health Technologies under the National Health Policy (2017),
    • The Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (DISHA) 2018 and
    • The Medical Device Rules, 2017.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made inroads into every sector and healthcare is no exception.
  • Diagnosis and screening, therapeutics, preventive treatments, clinical decision-making, public health surveillance, etc., are among the recognised applications of AI in healthcare.
  • Since AI cannot be held accountable for the decisions it makes, an ethically sound policy framework is essential to guide AI technology development.


Highlights of the guidelines:

  • It outlined 10 key patient-centric ethical principles for AI application in the health sector for all stakeholders involved.
  • These are accountability and liability, autonomy, data privacy, collaboration, risk minimisation and safety, accessibility and equity, optimisation of data quality, non-discrimination and fairness, validity and trustworthiness.
  • The ethical review process came under the domain of the ethics committee which assesses a host of factors including data source, quality, safety, anonymization, etc.


Significance of the guidelines:

  • The autonomy principle ensures human oversight of the functioning and performance of the AI system.
    • It is also critical to attain informed consent from the patient on the physical, psychological and social risks involved.
  • It aims to prevent unintended or deliberate misuse and cyber attacks and mandates a benefit-risk assessment by an ethical committee.
  • It underlines the importance of regular internal and external audits to ensure the optimum functioning of AI systems.
  • It acknowledges the widespread availability of appropriate infrastructure and thus aims to bridge the digital divide.


Way ahead:

  • Standard practices to make the AI-based solutions technically sound, ethically justified and applicable to a large number of individuals with equity and fairness.
  • All the stakeholders should adhere to these guiding principles to make the technology more useful and acceptable to the users and beneficiaries of the technology.


Insta Links:

Artificial Intelligence in Pandemics


Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Sahara— women self-help group (SHG)

 Source: DTE

Sahara, a women’s self-help group (SHG) in Amoda village, Jajangir Champa district, Chhattisgarh, has worked for nearly 20 years to fight leprosy stigma and has now helped women become self-sufficient. The SHG has enabled women to earn a livelihood, increased their representation in local governance, got a liquor distillery closed down, spread awareness about their rights and invested in mushroom farming. Sahara has inspired the formation of more than 20 other SHGs in Amoda village.


Usage: Such examples can be used in the Ethics Case study, Governance Questions to highlight that women’s self-help groups can be a powerful tool for promoting social and economic empowerment, as well as advocating for change in the community.


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Arts of the imperial Chola dynasty

 Source: The Hindu



‘Jharniyojan’ portal

 Source: IE

 Context: The Jharkhand government has launched a portal called ‘Jharniyojan’ to ensure 75% local quota in pvt sector


The portal requires:

  • All private establishments in the state register themselves.
  • Employers to adhere to the ‘Jharkhand State Employment of Local Candidates in Private Sector Act, 2021
  • The act reserves 75% of jobs in private sectors with salaries up to Rs 40,000 for “locals” in the state.
  • It applies to all establishments which are in the private sector and where 10 or more people are employed.



  • SC (in Dr Pradeep Jain case (1984)): Court expressed an opinion that legislation for “sons of the soil” would be unconstitutional.
  • SC (in Sunanda Reddy case (1995)): The court struck down a state government policy that gave 5% extra weightage to candidates who had studied with Telugu
  • Violates fundamental right to freedom of business under Article 19(1)(g)


Central or state government undertakings will not be included in the Act, but the provisions of the Act.


The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)

 Source: IE

 Context: Soon after the pro-Khalistan protestors took down the Indian flag at the High Commission in London, the Indian External Affairs Ministry reminded the UK Government about the Vienna Convention.


What is the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)?

  • Entered into force on April 24 1964, the Convention is nearly universally ratified, with Palau and South Sudan being the exceptions.
  • It provides a complete framework for the establishment/maintenance/termination of diplomatic relations on a basis of consent between independent sovereign States.
  • It codifies the longstanding custom of diplomatic immunity, in which diplomatic missions are granted privileges, enabling diplomats to function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country.
  • It affirms the concept of “inviolability” of a diplomatic mission, which has been one of the enduring cornerstones of international diplomacy.

Article 22 of the Convention: It deals with obligations with regard to the premises of the Mission – the receiving/host State is mandated to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage.


Letter of Comfort

 Source: ET


States to get rewards for organic farming

 Source: Live Mint

Context: The Central government has designed a scheme for rewarding states that push organic farming in a measure to cut ballooning subsidies for chemical fertilizers.

  • The scheme–PM programme for restoration, awareness, nourishment and melioration of mother earth (PM Pranam)
  • The scheme is designed to check excessive and indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers as part of the government’s efforts to make farming more sustainable. Robust agriculture growth, price stability of farm produce, and sustainability are priorities for NITI Aayog in the farm sector.


Features of the Scheme:

  • The scheme will have no separate budget and will be financed through the “savings of existing fertiliser subsidy” under schemes run by the Department of Fertilizers.
  • 50% of subsidy savings will be passed on as a grant to the state that saves the money.
  • 70% of the grant provided under the scheme can be used for asset creation related to the technological adoption of alternate fertilisersand alternate fertiliser production units at the village, block and district levels.
  • The remaining 30% of grant money can be used for rewarding and encouraging farmers, panchayats, farmer producer organisations and self-help groups that are involved in the reduction of fertiliser use and awareness generation.
  • For this purpose, data available on a Fertilizer Ministry dashboard, IFMS (Integrated Fertilizers Management System) will be used.


How much is the fertilizer subsidy burden of India?

  • The government had originally estimated only about ₹1 trillion for making plant nutrients available to farmers at affordable prices in FY23 but later sought additional spending permission from Parliament.
  • The revised fertilizer subsidy estimate for this fiscal is around ₹2.25 trillion mainly owing to supply disruptions and price escalation in global markets following the Russia-Ukraine war.


4D Printing


Radiation Level

 Source: TH

 Context: A study by scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has found that natural background radiation levels in parts of Kerala are nearly three times higher than previously assumed.

Reasons for higher radiation level:

  • The presence of granite and basaltic, volcanic rock has led to higher levels of radiation from uranium deposits in southern India.
  • The higher radiation levels in Kollam, Kerala are attributed to monazite sands that are high in thorium

Risk: There is no elevated health risk, as the human body is accustomed to higher doses of radiation.

About Radiation:

 Radiation results from the disintegrating nucleus of an unstable element. These can be from anywhere, including inside human bodies, constituents of matter, and natural sources such as rocks, sand or mountains.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) specifies public radiation exposure should not exceed 1 millisievert every year (India’s average is 0.8 millisievert/year)


Laccase Enzyme

 Source: DST

 Context: An enzyme called laccase generated by a group of fungi has been found capable of degrading a variety of hazardous organic dye molecules that are regularly drained into waterbodies after dying clothes in the textile industry.



  • Enzyme promiscuity: laccase shows enzyme promiscuity (i.e., the capability of an enzyme to catalyse a reaction other than the reaction for which it has been specialized)
  • This property can be used for designing enzyme-coated cassettes for treating heavily dye-polluted water through a natural solution to make the environment greener.


India lost 668,400 ha forests in 5 years, 2nd highest globally: Report

 Source: DTE

Context: According to a new report, India has seen the highest rise in deforestation in the last 30 years, with a stark surge recorded between 2015 and 2020.


Key highlights in the report:

  • Cattle rearing was the leading cause of global deforestation, leading to a loss of 2,105,753 ha annually. This was followed by the cultivation of oil seeds that caused 950,609 ha of forestry loss.
  • Logging is the third highest factor responsible for deforestation, causing around 678,744 ha of annual deforestation globally.
  • The report further revealed that while Brazil has reduced its deforestation by 2,559,100 ha from 2015 to 2020 and Indonesia by 1,876,000 ha for the same period, India’s figures have only increased significantly. 


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